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« Cartoons by Josh Calendar 2013 | Main | The BBC and the consensus »

Close DECC

The Department of Energy and CLimate Change really needs to be closed down before it does any more damage to the country's prospects. Just look at this:

Under the government’s Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme, which aims to make renewable energies competitive with fossil fuels, the size of a turbine is measured not by height but by power output. If a turbine pumps out more than 500kW, its owners receive 9.5p per kilowatt hour. But a ‘smaller’ sub-500kW one receives a subsidy of 17.5p per kilowatt hour, supposedly to compensate for its lower efficiency. The idea is to lure smaller wind-power producers into the market.

Problem is, while smaller turbines are more popular with the public, those designs don’t produce anything like the 500kW needed to take full advantage of the subsidy. So instead, investors are buying big, powerful turbines and downgrading them, tweaking their components to churn out no more than the magic 500kW. It’s simply far more lucrative to hobble bigger turbines — machines that ought to be capable of producing almost twice as much electricity.

Read the whole story.

And will Ed Davey be fired? Don't hold your breath.

(H/T Roger)

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Reader Comments (57)

I would recommend this book to get more clued up on radiation etc. – Even if you think you already are. Looking at some of the negative reviews on Amazon it’s not perfect (what is?), but a lot more balanced than most.


Nov 23, 2012 at 8:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeA

Toxic waste products like mercury in "modern" CFL bulbs stay in the environment for ever.
Nov 22, 2012 at 4:15 PM | Phillip Bratby

Yes, it's deeply ironic that within 10 or 15 years of lead being very sensibly removed from petrol, the greenies have conned governments into another type of heavy metal pollution. It can't be said too often; these people do not have the slightest clue about anything and should be totally ignored.

Nov 23, 2012 at 8:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris M

JonasM: 'the word 'scheme' is used only when one wants to imply nefarious motives'

The person, now deceased, who was the owner of one of our largest renewables' companies was part of the W. Midlands Mafia which paid for Brown to get into Power with Robinson doing the thinking. The money came from Transtec, the company Robinson set up with Maxwell, The payback was PFI, Renewables and the Rover Scam.

This was a 'scheme' of the lowest order and those in the Lib Dems and Tories who act for the City carbon traders will be dealt with:

Nov 23, 2012 at 9:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlecM

Martin A: I worked on the Sizewell B design and safety case, starting in 1978. Sudden failures of pressure vessels do not occur. There are many faults which could lead to a severe accident. Failure of the pressure vessel (by melt-through for example) would not scatter debris hundreds of miles, which is one of the reasons the reactor is inside the containment (reactor) building. The vessel is extremely unlikely to fail due to overpressure because of the diversity and redundancy of pressure relief and other safety systems. But again, if it did fail, the debris would be retained within the containment building. In reality, the probabilities are orders of magnitude lower than the 10^-6 you quote.

Nov 22, 2012 at 8:20 PM Phillip Bratby

Phillip - I could not find any material on Sizewell B pressure vessel safety in my archives. I remembered it was not overpressure failure that had been discussed but the possibility of sudden failure due to undetected manufacturing defects.

However, a very quick search of the web, followed by an even quicker perusal of what I found, came up with a report by Rodney Fordham.
(degrees in maths and physics, worked for UKAEA from 1955 to 1982.
Operated research reactors until 1961; Assessment of reactor operation hazards until 1977.)

He says (from my quick look):
- There is a non zero probability of a catastrophic pressure vessel explosion in Sizewell B due to undetected constructional defects.
- The containment structure would not contain such an explosion.
- The consequences of such an accident have not been analysed.

[The last was confirmed in Parliament]

He says that the licence issued by the NII is therefore unlawful, as both the probability and the consequences of a failure have to have been studied for a licence to be legally issued.

Elsewhere he states that the Sizewell B pressure vessel was not subjected to cold over-pressure testing as normal for boilers because of the risk it would fail unnecessarily due to brittle failure that would not occur when hot.

"In the case of the Sizewell 'B' reactor pressure vessel the traditional cold over pressure test, which would have involved a definite risk of brittle failure, has, arbitrarily, been dispensed with and replaced by an ineffective procedure"

I had a friend who was engineer in charge of operation of a CEGB nuclear power station. He would assure me how safe it all was - but then he would regale me with tales of incompetence and catastrophe in (non-nuclear) CEGB operations.

Nov 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Dung - if you are still listening.

Making a nuclear explosion is quite hard (unless you have a source of uncontaminated U235, in which case even I could probably make one, given access to a good workshop and some appropriate measuring instruments plus some beryllium and some polonium - the latter maybe from some B&Q smoke detectors?).

The basic problem is that the device blows itself to bits before the reaction has really got going. To overcome this problem requires very sophisticated engineering with specially devised components carefully designed to do the job of making a good bang.

The chance of something that was never intended to explode overcoming these difficulties is about the same as my piano disappearing from the living room and materialising in the kitchen as a result of quantum effects.

Nov 23, 2012 at 11:12 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

I accept your assurances ^.^

Nov 23, 2012 at 4:01 PM | Registered CommenterDung

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